Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft #Review @KatCroft @bookouture

Silent Lies cover

Five years ago, Mia Hamilton’s husband, Zach, committed suicide. On the same night, Josie Carpenter,  disappeared and was thought to have been murdered by her university teacher—Zach Hamilton. The coincidence of Josie’s disappearance and Zach’s suicide happening on the same night had everyone convinced Zach murdered Josie and disposed of her body before committing suicide. Josie’s body was never found and there was no absolute proof Zach murdered her, but the discovery of his corpse in Josie’s flat was enough for most people to believe it.

Five years later Mia is a counselor and in love with a man named Will, whom both she and her daughter, Freya, adore. Mia is starting to feel she can put the past behind her when she meets a new client named Alison who drops a bombshell during her first counseling session—saying Zach didn’t kill himself, only to deny having said it moments later.

Desperate for answers yet unsure if Alison can be trusted, Mia is determined to find out what Alison knows, and if she’s telling the truth. As she learns more about Alison, she questions her agenda and fears for her own safety—but she can’t stop until she finds out what Alison knows about the night Josie disappeared and Zach died.

Full of secrets, deceptions, and jaw-dropping plot twists, Silent Lies is guaranteed to keep you reading through the wee hours of the night. The story is told from the perspectives of Mia (in the present) and Josie (five years ago) in alternating chapters. While both perspectives are interesting, I found myself far more captivated by Josie’s tale. She went through something truly horrific in her past, and to see the way she coped with that—let alone, everything else she faced in her everyday life—was simply fascinating to me. Through her interactions with Zach, we see the sort of person he was, and even get glimpses of the way Mia was in the past in the rare moments he talks about her. The more I learned about Josie, the more theories I had about that fateful night, and her role in it.

Alison—who features in both perspectives—definitely kept me on my toes. Just when I thought I had her all figured out, something would happen to change my mind. She is definitely a complex character who constantly gives you a feeling of unease every time she shows up.

I can’t say why, of course, but the ending totally blew my mind! I was so shocked, I actually had to reread several paragraphs to make sure I hadn’t read it wrong. Just… WOW.

If you love psychological thrillers, you definitely need to add this one to your TBR pile!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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Author: Kathryn Croft

Title: Silent Lies

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: October 25th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the Book

‘Your husband didn’t kill himself.’
Five years rebuilding your life. Five words will destroy it again.

Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter, Freya. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students, Josie Carpenter, vanished.

Five years later, and Josie is still missing but Mia has finally found some happiness with new boyfriend Will.

Until one day when stranger Alison walks into her life and tells Mia that her husband didn’t kill himself.

Desperate to find out what really happened to Zach, Mia is forced to put her trust in Alison. But she soon discovers that Alison has her own agenda behind exposing the details of Zach’s death. Can Mia really believe anything Alison says?

Mia must decide how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth – even if she risks losing everything she loves.

About the Author

Kathryn Croft
Kathryn Croft

Kathryn worked in HR and management training before her passion for literature led her to train as an English teacher. She spent six years teaching secondary school English; a job she believes was invaluable to her writing career. Kathryn now devotes all her time to writing.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.


Liar by K.L. Slater #Review @KimLSlater @bookouture

Liar cover

Since the death of his wife, Ben has relied on help given by his mother, Judi, who cleans his home and cares for her grandsons regularly. All that changes when Ben meets Amber, however. Judi goes from being a constant presence in their lives to someone they occasionally spend time with—and she knows it’s all because of Amber. But why is she doing it, and what can Judi do about it?

Wow, what a book! LIAR kicks off with a bloody bang—someone covered in blood, dead on the floor, and someone else standing over them with a knife… feeling nothing. The end is literally the beginning. It’s not until the (actual) end of the book that we find out who’s who, and what brought on the murder, because the next chapter starts at the beginning of the story.

Amber and Judi are both unlikable characters to some degree, but that isn’t strictly due to their interactions with one another, in Judi’s case. I was annoyed with her sometimes for being a bit too clingy with her son and grandsons, or for being upset at the way things changed in her son’s home after Amber came along—such as the new furniture. It absolutely made sense that Judi would feel that way about it, given the way she was, but it still got on my nerves. (Or maybe I felt that way because Judi had already annoyed me in other ways? Hmm. Probably.) That’s not to say that I didn’t feel sympathetic towards Judi. I did quite often because—whether she was a clingy mother or not—not being allowed to spend time with your loved ones is a hurtful thing, indeed.

Amber struck me as a manipulative woman with an agenda immediately, and I instantly decided there couldn’t possibly be any redeeming factors about her whatsoever. As I slowly learned more about her, however, I had a feeling there was more to Amber than meets the eye.

A lot happens throughout this story, but the last quarter of the book… holy crap! The twists kept on coming, and just when I thought nothing else could happen that would shock me, it did. I was completely blindsided and blown away by a certain event, and scared away at least one life for each of my cats when I yelled “WHAT?!” at the top of my lungs. I had to go back and reread that portion again, because I couldn’t believe what happened. I never saw it coming, and I loved it!

If you’re ready for an insanely addicting psychological thriller that will knock you off your feet, you need look no further than LIAR by K.L. Slater. This fantastic book hooks you from the start and never lets go. Highly recommended!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.


Author: K.L. Slater

Title: Liar

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: June 16th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Book

How far would you go to protect your family?

Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children alone, with the help of his devoted mother Judi. Life isn’t easy, but Judi’s family means everything to her and together, they manage.

Then Ben meets Amber. Everyone thinks this is a perfect match for Ben but Judi isn’t sure … there’s just something about Amber that doesn’t add up.

Ben can’t see why his mother dislikes his new girlfriend. And Amber doesn’t want Judi anywhere near her new family. Amber just wants Ben and the children.

The further Judi delves into Amber’s personal life, the closer she gets to shocking secrets that could change everything. And Judi must make a decision that could lead to the most disastrous consequences.

About the Author

Author K.L. Slater

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents but never made it off the slush pile. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

The Lost Children by Helen Phifer #Review @helenphifer1 @bookouture

The Lost Children cover

Back in April, I put my auto-approval with Bookouture to good use, and downloaded this on Netgalley… and it sat for months waiting for me to read it while I read other books instead. I finally opened it up last week, and just like that, I’ve found a new series and author to love!

In my opinion, some of the best books (regardless of genre and sub-genre) use an old, abandoned asylum as a backdrop for the action. You can’t pick a creepier setting that than… your imagination sparks images of sorts of things that might have happened there before you even crack open the book. They give books an ambience that can’t be achieved in other settings, and is used to particularly chilling effect in crime thrillers.

Helen Phifer puts all of this to use in The Lost Children, creating a story about a place—the Moore Asylum—whose past is as horrifying as the murder that takes place there decades after its closure. It’s the first of several murders connected to the asylum, and it’s up to Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin to figure out who the killer is and put an end to the bloodshed.

Lucy Harwin is fabulously flawed. Her relationship with her daughter is rocky, and she’s a workaholic with a tendency to drink too much at times in order to forget the horrific things she sees on the job. She struggles with the guilt she feels over victims she was unable to save, holding herself responsible whether she is or not. The woman has issues, but she’s tough as nails when it comes to her job, and fiercely protective of the people she loves.

There are occasional flashbacks to the mid-1970s, which are told through one of three point of view: children who were patients in the asylum, a doctor at the asylum, and a nurse who worked on Ward 13—the children’s ward. It was fascinating to see the asylum through the eyes of people who worked, or were patients, there. The abandoned asylum of the present day is creepy, but what happened before the asylum closed is the stuff of nightmares.

I was able to figure out a couple of things before they were revealed in the story, but it didn’t affect the rating I’ve chosen to give this book because there were a couple of things I didn’t see coming that were fantastic and really added to the story.

I can’t wait to read more about Lucy Harwin!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.


Author: Helen Phifer

Title: The Lost Children

Series: Detective Lucy Harwin #1

Genre: Crime Thriller

Published: March 24th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Book

Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now – when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to an ancient gurney…

Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging the asylum’s wrongs.

What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.

As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose?

An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone.

About the Author

Author Helen Phifer
Author Helen Phifer

Helen Phifer’s love of reading began with Enid Blyton, before progressing on to Laura Ingalls Wilder and scaring herself with Steven King. If she can’t write for any particular reason she finds herself getting itchy fingers and really irritable. She loves reading as much as writing and is also very fond of chocolate, Prosecco, The Lake District, New York, white Zinfandel wine, my children and grandchildren, my friends, porn star martini cocktails, Stephen King, watching scary films, Marilyn Monroe, Melissa McCarthy, Idris Elba, Simon Baker, Spandau Ballet, The Munsters and coffee. In no particular order.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.